After a year of epic job losses, waves of coronavirus infections, and small business closures, numerous trends are brightening the outlook.
WASHINGTON — With hopes rising for a powerful rebound in hiring this year, Friday’s jobs report for March will provide crucial insight into whether those rosy expectations may prove true.
The most optimistic economists are predicting that the government will report that as many as 1 million jobs were added in March — a blistering gain that would help recover a decent chunk of the 9.5 million jobs that remain lost to the pandemic. Still, the increase might not be quite that large: Overall, economists surveyed by data provider FactSet have forecast an increase of 615,000.
After a year of epic job losses, waves of coronavirus infections, and small business closures, numerous trends are brightening the outlook. Consumer confidence in March reached its highest level since the pandemic intensified. Americans have increased their spending as the latest stimulus checks have been distributed. More states and cities are easing restrictions on restaurants, bars and indoor gatherings. Vaccinations are being increasingly administered, although new confirmed infections have risen from lower levels in recent weeks.